Saturday, April 4, 2009

Jimi (Jimmy) Mamou (#2): Mamou Travel Memories.

A little over a year ago I posted a blog entry about an American blues musician who bowled me over with his playing when I saw him in Mexico in 2004: Jimi Mamou (also known as Jimmy Mamou).

While visiting the onetime sleepy fishing village of Zihuatanejo, this tourist floated in one of the world's most beautifully-tranquil bays as sunset approached. And I watched a series of sunsets that a hundred-plus photos couldn't capture all the striated majesty of. Nevertheless, those shots still reduce me to sighs when I look back at them.

Next, I'd walk into town to eat: maybe munching that evening on a milanesa torta, fresh seafood, or green enchiladas.

Capping three separate sticky nights, I drank cold Victoria beer while watching Jimi Mamou and the other members of his trio strut out some awesome R&B. I'll never forget the electricity he generated, his zestful showmanship, his guitar chops.

Since posting that Mamou travelogue, I contacted Mr. Fine Wine, a deejay at WFMU, to tell him that I appreciated being able to hear Mamou's "Funky Love" for the first time thanks to his show. Mr. Fine Wine responded that he's owned that 45 "forever," but didn't know much about Jimi's history until reading my blog.

Then a record seller, an acquaintance here in Denver, emailed me to say that he'd recently acquired Mamou's "'I Am' He Said" religious record. Researching that title on an Internet search engine, he happened upon my blog entry right off the bat. It's a small world, after all -- and Jimi's name is known all around the globe. My blog has also gotten hits from people looking for info on Mamou in Mexico City, Toronto, Tokyo, Turin, Paris, Chicago, and Nashville -- to name a few locales.

At the end of my post, I wondered where Mamou was now. Art and Gillian responded in February of this year: "Jimi is alive and well in Zihuat, playing here and there in various clubs once or twice a week..."

I've also researched Mamou further myself, listening online to a 1971 Elvin Bishop concert in San Francisco at which Mamou made a guest appearance, joining the band for a few songs. And I see that he performs at an annual guitar festival held in Zihuatanejo.

With any luck that's where I'll be in March of 2010. Swimming again in the gentle waves at Playa La Ropa. Watching the fishermen haul in my evening's meal during the pre-sunrise a.m. hours. And swaying like a palm tree to the rhythms of Jimi Mamou on a warm festival night beside the Pacific.


Art and Gillian said...

Great Gregory, thanks. We will be in Zihuatanejo at El Manglar RV Park and Restaurant on Playa La Ropa Dec through February. We usually leave some time in the first week or so of March. Hope we can meet up! Ask for "Arturo" at El Manglar--they all know me! :)

JJ said...

I met Jimi, his wife, and his foster son while living in Kailua, Hawaii. He played often at local churches and even my high school (in '73). Elvin Bishop and other greats visited him at his house in Enchanted Lakes for backyard jam sessions. I saw him with many greats in Waikiki, but he was helpful and a friend to the young, new musicians . Before that he and his wife worked in Las Vegas, playing with Billy Preston and Hendrix. Jimi has had a long career, blessing people of all walks of life with spiritual and rock music. What a talent!!